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Q&A: In conversation with Laura Pomponi of Luxury Projects
Italian design studio Luxury Projects holds an impressive portfolio, both on land and at sea, and has made its mark on a long list of standout superyachts, including the 70m Benetti Alkhor, Heesen's Destiny and the 90m modern-classic Nero. With a 60m Amels currently in the works, we catch up with founder and chief executive Laura Pomponi as she reflects on the past 12 months and looks to the next five years.
What developments have taken place at the company during the past few months?
Luxury Projects recently entered “the next decade”. We are seriously expanding our Design Atelier in Ancona and, as we speak, we are realising additional work stations for decorators, designers and administrators as well as expanding to 600 square metres our showroom and reception area to receive clients and show what we can do.
At the same time, we have opened a new office in Viareggio where we produce architectural drawings for our projects, where we will do project management and provide technical assistance but also can comfortably receive clients in a laid-back homey, atmosphere.
How do you think the superyacht industry will change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?
For us, there is not much of a noticeable change, other than the fact it is extremely busy as it seems more potential yacht owners than ever before are introducing themselves to the world of yachting. What we do notice is the intensification of modern communication technologies like video calling and sharing information electronically.
We were already facilitating this due to our offices that are 400-kilometres apart on the east and west coast of Italy and in the Middle East, and so adapting to this way of communication came naturally to us. As travelling is restricted still and might be for a while we are happy to continue in this way, work from home or the office and communicate via phone, mail or video conference.
What has been the most enjoyable experience during your time as CEO?
For me personally, I have to say it's the last few years that have been most exciting to me, as I invested my heart and soul into Luxury Projects and it started to pay off. Over a period of five years, we added serious projects to our portfolio of big refits and new build and at the same time entered the "big boat" segment of the superyacht industry. Seeing this growth is the dream of every manager in the industry but maybe what’s most rewarding is the people and my team that I still consider my family.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Exponential growth doesn’t come for free and is accompanied by some pain, we had to work long hours and faced many challenges. We also have seen a rotation of personal and said goodbye to a few and welcomed to some others. Not always easy and even difficult at times.
How do you foresee the company evolving over the next five years?
We like to grow a bit more and expand our client base. We also like to differentiate ourselves a bit from the market and offer more services than the average studio. We were already combining interior and exterior design and to be able to offer the full package we have in-house light designers and professional CGI rendering artists. Then on one of our latest projects we were asked to commission the interiors and with a team of skilled yacht surveyors, we took delivery of the interior on behalf of our clients. Recently we are developing the skills to offer conceptual design and create technically feasible yacht concepts. Here we like to concentrate on and so we are seriously investing in 3D modelling and marine engineering.